August 29, 2003

The head of a company vying to sell voting

The LNS has made note of what we term the
"triple-lock" that the _resident and "all the
_resident's men" seek for 2004: lock #1 - overhwleming
dominance in campaign $$$, lock #2 - cooperation from
the corporatist "US mainstream news media," lock #3 -
control of the voting process itself...Well, lock #3
(i.e. "black box voting") becomes ever more important
to them as the _resident slides badly in the polls due
to his foolish military adventure in Iraq, his
credibility gap, his mishandling of the economy, etc.
Why? Because as he grows increasingly unpopular even
the propapunditgandists in the news media will become
harder to control, oh excuse me, I should say "sway"
and it is quite plausible that even the flow of
campaign $$$ may start to slow down...Consider the following news stories
from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It is quite shocking.
And it would be a miracle if you hear about it on
AnythingButSee, SeeBS, SeeNotNews, etc.
tonight...Please go to www.blackboxvoting.com (if you
haven't already) purchase the book and refer others to
the site...Remember, 2+2=4

http://www.cleveland.com/politics/index.ssf?/base/ispol/106207393874610.xml

Voting machine controversy


08/28/03

Julie Carr Smyth
Plain Dealer Bureau


Columbus - The head of a company vying to sell voting
machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent
fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping
Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next
year."

The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive
of Diebold Inc. - who has become active in the
re-election effort of President Bush - prompted
Democrats this week to question the propriety of
allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the
2004 presidential election.

O'Dell attended a strategy pow-wow with wealthy Bush
benefactors - known as Rangers and Pioneers - at the
president's Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this month.
The next week, he penned invitations to a
$1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit the Ohio
Republican Party's federal campaign fund - partially
benefiting Bush - at his mansion in the Columbus
suburb of Upper Arlington.

The letter went out the day before Ohio Secretary of
State Ken Blackwell, also a Republican, was set to
qualify Diebold as one of three firms eligible to sell
upgraded electronic voting machines to Ohio counties
in time for the 2004 election.

Blackwell's announcement is still in limbo because of
a court challenge over the fairness of the selection
process by a disqualified bidder, Sequoia Voting
Systems.

In his invitation letter, O'Dell asked guests to
consider donating or raising up to $10,000 each for
the federal account that the state GOP will use to
help Bush and other federal candidates - money that
legislative Democratic leaders charged could come back
to benefit Blackwell.

They urged Blackwell to remove Diebold from the field
of voting-machine companies eligible to sell to Ohio
counties.

This is the second such request in as many months.
State Sen. Jeff Jacobson, a Dayton-area Republican,
asked Blackwell in July to disqualify Diebold after
security concerns arose over its equipment.

"Ordinary Ohioans may infer that Blackwell's office is
looking past Diebold's security issues because its CEO
is seeking $10,000 donations for Blackwell's party -
donations that could be made with statewide elected
officials right there in the same room," said Senate
Democratic Leader Greg DiDonato.

Diebold spokeswoman Michelle Griggy said O'Dell - who
was unavailable to comment personally - has held
fund-raisers in his home for many causes, including
the Columbus Zoo, Op era Columbus, Catholic Social
Services and Ohio State University.

Ohio GOP spokesman Jason Mauk said the party
approached O'Dell about hosting the event at his home,
the historic Cotswold Manor, and not the other way
around. Mauk said that under federal campaign finance
rules, the party cannot use any money from its federal
account for state- level candidates.

"To think that Diebold is somehow tainted because they
have a couple folks on their board who support the
president is just unfair," Mauk said.

Griggy said in an e-mail statement that Diebold could
not comment on the political contributions of
individual company employees.

Blackwell said Diebold is not the only company with
political connections - noting that lobbyists for
voting-machine makers read like a who's who of
Columbus' powerful and politically connected.

"Let me put it to you this way: If there was one
person uniquely involved in the political process,
that might be troubling," he said. "But there's no one
that hasn't used every legitimate avenue and bit of
leverage that they could legally use to get their
product looked at. Believe me, if there is a political
lever to be pulled, all of them have pulled it."

Blackwell said he stands by the process used for
selecting voting machine vendors as fair, thorough and
impartial.

As of yesterday, however, that determination lay with
Ohio Court of Claims Judge Fred Shoemaker.

He heard closing arguments yesterday over whether
Sequoia was unfairly eliminated by Blackwell midway
through the final phase of negotiations.

Shoemaker extended a temporary restraining order in
the case for 14 days, but said he hopes to issue his
opinion sooner than that.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

jsmyth@plaind.com, 1-800-228-8272


2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

Copyright 2003 cleveland.com. All Rights Reserved.


Posted by richard at August 29, 2003 05:21 PM